We are excited to announce that recently TROT has been awarded a Maryland Horse Industry Board Grant to improve equestrian trails. The focus of the grant is to improve bridge traction at one of the favorite equestrian trail systems in Montgomery County, Little Bennet, by adding a non-slip surface to improve horse and rider confidence in the crossings. Little Bennett Regional Parks is unique in that it offers one of the few horse trailer camping sites in Maryland, and is enjoyed by many equestrian riders of all disciplines.
One of our fantastic TROT members came to a recent board meeting to let us know that some of the bridge crossings at Little Bennet were a bit slippery for horses since they are under thick tree canopies that limit drying times and promote growth of algae, mold and mildew. We have most likely all experienced that slippery feeling on wood surfaces at some point in our trail riding or walking. The board took immediate action and wrote up a proposal to fix it.
We will be trying a solution that is gaining popularity with many trail communities. The process involves physically removing the mold, mildew, and algae, and then painting on a unique marine-grade anti-slip decking product on the wood. This product contains sand and aggregates suspended in a paint or resin, which one can apply with a paint roller, and makes a surface with thick tooth and thus traction. If this solution is successful, it might serve as a possible template for more state and county park systems.
We are working on this in partnership with the grant funding agency of Maryland Horse Industry Board, Montgomery County Parks, and TROT. We hope to make this a great, fun, social volunteer effort this year for TROT, as the steps will take a few days so that we don’t fully close the trails and their respective bridges. Hopefully we will have team challenges and appropriate prizes, a picnic of some sort, the ability to meet some of Montgomery County Park wonderful staff and volunteer crews who will be helping us, as well as document our progress for the Equiery Magazine, American Trails Organization, and the Horse Radio Network.
As most equestrians know, safety for our horses is paramount and part of maintaining a willing equine partnership. Our animals put their trust in us to keep them safe and secure while we ride. Even a small slip can cause a horse to become unwilling to repeat the crossing or activity. We look forward to the volunteer opportunity and in being able to make our equestrian trails that much safer.
If you are interested in helping with logistics or volunteering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.